The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 provides a regulatory framework for the use of a number of covert investigatory powers, to ensure that the powers are used by public authorities in a lawful way in order to, for example, gather vital information on those who are suspected of the most serious crimes, including terrorism. The Act provides the necessary safeguards to protect individual privacy and our democratic freedoms while enabling our law enforcement and security agencies to protect the UK from serious harm.
The Act is accompanied by a set of codes of practice. These codes provide guidance for law enforcement agencies, the UK intelligence community and public authorities who exercise such powers. It sets out how the powers in primary legislation should be exercised. Under paragraph 5 of schedule 7 to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, the Secretary of State may from time to time revise the whole or part of a code.
I intend to launch a public consultation on amending the interception of communications code of practice to reflect HMG’s position on cloud service providers and the enterprise services they provide to customers, and the circumstances in which an intercepting authority should serve a warrant on either the cloud service provider or the enterprise customer.
I must be clear that the intention to amend the code is subject to the outcome of the consultation and we will consider any representations made as a result of the consultation. Further details will be published in the consultation response.
The public consultation will run between 20 July and 14 September, and my officials are also in the process of seeking input from the independent Investigatory Powers Commissioner, who oversees and monitors the operation of the legislation.
A copy of this consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and also made available on gov.uk.